CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) TIMELINE
The surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the more contagious delta variant has spread to Baker County, which reported 19 new cases on Tuesday, July 27, the second-highest one-day total during the pandemic. Read more
Health Department Director Nancy Staten is sounding the alarm. “We’re seeing an increase in cases, and we need to get a handle on it or we’re going to be in bad shape as a county. We know that when cases spike, many people are exposed to people who are contagious, and it takes a long time fo… Read more
A 59-year-old Baker County man died on July 13, six days after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported on Thursday, July 15. Read more
State restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have ended, and Baker County’s rate of new cases has remained well below a spring peak during April, but Nancy Staten is concerned that the county’s relatively low vaccination rate makes the county vulnerable to future outbreaks. Read more
Baker County reported its highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases in two months on Monday, June 21, with 12 cases. Read more
Shane Cunningham pondered the COVID-19 vaccines long before he was eligible to get one. Read more
With its COVID-19 case rate dropping to the lowest level in more than six months, Baker County appears to be on pace to return to the state’s lowest risk level, which would double indoor dining capacity at restaurants at the start of Memorial Day weekend. Read more
The Baker School District will no longer require students to wear face masks for outdoor activities, including PE classes, recesses and sports. Read more
Although the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Baker County has dropped to its lowest level in more than three months, the county will remain at the high risk level at least through May 27, Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said Wednesday, May 19. Read more
Although both federal and state officials have said fully vaccinated people needn’t wear masks or socially distance in most situations, Oregon schools will continue to require students, staff and visitors to follow those guidelines for the few remaining weeks in the school year. Read more
Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday, May 11 that counties can qualify to ease COVID-19 restrictions on businesses starting next week if they vaccinate enough residents, but Baker County is far short of the threshold. Read more
Gov Kate Brown laid out some basic math on Tuesday for Oregon residents hoping for as near a “normal” as possible. Vaccination = vacation. Read more
Restaurants and bars in Baker County can resume limited indoor dining on Friday, May 7, as the county drops from extreme to high risk level. Read more
A large majority of COVID-19 cases in Baker County over the past two weeks or so were people younger than 40, a significant increase from the rate of cases in that age range earlier this spring.
For the period April 15-30, almost 71% of the county’s 78 new cases were people 39 or younger, according to the Baker County Health Department.
For the period March 23 through April 2, that age group accounted for just 28% of the county’s cases.
Starting in early April the number of cases in county residents younger than 40 began to rise.
From April 3-21, that group had 55% of the new cases.
Meanwhile the number of cases among people 70 and older — the group most likely to become severely ill or to die — has plummeted.
Of Oregon’s 2,508 deaths attributed to COVID-19 during the pandemic, almost 76% were 70 or older. In Baker County, 13 of the 14 people who died after testing positive for the virus were 70 or older (the one exception is a 59-year-old man who died on Feb. 2).
The 70-and-older age group accounted for 17.5% of Baker County’s new cases from March 23 to April 2. The group’s share dropped to 9.9% from April 3-21, and to just under 2% from April 15-30.
During the latter period there were no cases in the county among residents 80 and older, said Holly Kerns, a public information officer for the county.
Total cases includes people who tested positive for COVID-19 as well as presumptive cases — people who had symptoms consistent with the virus and were in close contact with someone who tested positive but haven’t tested positive themselves. The county does not list positive tests and presumptive cases separately.
The 70-plus age group also has the highest vaccination rate in Baker County, with about 65% of county residents in that group fully or partially vaccinated, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Although vaccination rates for county residents younger than 40 aren’t available, the total number of residents in that age group who are partially or fully vaccinated is 777. That’s 13.7% of the total people vaccinated in the county.
Younger residents, with the exception of health care workers, first responders, teachers and other school employees and some other groups, weren’t eligible to be vaccinated for most of the winter.
Everyone 16 and older is now eligible.
The largest increase in new cases in Baker County since April 15 was among people in their 20s. That group, which accounted for 4.4% of cases from April 3-21, jumped to 21.6% from April 15-30.
That was the second-highest percentage of any group during the period, behind only people in their 30s, who totaled 25.5% of the county’s cases. Read more
Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett and the county’s two state legislators have signed separate letters criticizing Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to ban indoor dining in Baker County and 14 other counties starting Friday, April 30 due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Read more
Baker County will move to the extreme risk level under state COVID-19 guidelines on Friday, April 30, and stay there for at least one week. Read more
Baker County has a “slim” chance to avoid moving into the extreme risk level this Friday, April 30, but County Commissioner Mark Bennett doesn’t yet know how small that opportunity will be. Read more
A group of Baker County employees and volunteers were prepared to help more than 1,100 people get their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, April 24 at the Fairgrounds. Read more
A sharp increase in COVID-19 cases could push at least 12 Oregon counties, including Baker, into the extreme risk level April 30, requiring the most severe restrictions the state can impose on businesses and activities, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday, April 23. Read more
Baker County's risk level under Oregon's COVID-19 guidelines will risk from the lowest risk level to high risk starting Friday, April 23, and remain there through at least May 6, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday afternoon. Read more
A 71-year-old Baker County woman who died on Wednesday, April 14 at a Boise hospital is the 14th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported. Read more
Students in the North Powder School District will take classes online through April 22 because as many as 30 students were potentially exposed to COVID-19. Read more
A 71-year-old Baker County woman who died on Wednesday, April 14 at a Boise hospital is the 14th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. Read more
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has asked all of the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, per the announcement from the U.S. CDC and FDA this morning. This is out of an abundance of caution as they review six cases of a rare and sever… Read more
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has fixed an error in its system for reporting county-level COVID-19 vaccination numbers, and the correction had a big effect on Baker County, whose inflated numbers prompted the agency to look at the situation in late March. Read more
A 75-year-old Baker City man who died on April 3 is the 13th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported Friday, April 9.The man, who had underlying medical conditions, tested positive on March 24. He died at his home, according to the OHA. Read more
A fourth employee at Brooklyn Primary School has tested positive for COVID-19, the Baker School District reported this morning. Read more
The Baker School District on Wednesday, April 7 confirmed what it had had been planning, and expected to happen — students in grades 7 through 12 will return to full in-person classes on Monday, April 12. Read more
A recent change to Oregon’s COVID-19 risk level system should allow Baker County to remain at the lowest level, with the least severe restrictions, through most of April even though the county’s case rate has nearly tripled in the past two weeks. Read more
Chelsea Hurliman is eager for Baker High School students to return to a four-day week and remain in their classrooms all day except when they are called away for extracurricular activities. Read more
For the second straight year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the cancellation of the Easter egg hunt in Geiser-Pollman Park. Read more
Baker School District students in Grades 7-12 will be returning to classes four days a week beginning April 12 if all goes as planned in the next few weeks. Read more
Baker County will return to the lowest risk level for COVID-19 spread on Friday, March 26, after being at the moderate risk level since March 12. Read more
The Baker City Council on Tuesday evening, March 23 will consider approving a resolution declaring an “economic, mental health and criminal activity crisis” resulting from Oregon COVID-19 mandates that the resolution deems “arbitrary, ineffective, and draconian.” Read more
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today that an 81-year-old man in Baker County died on March 11, three days after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more
An 85-year-old Baker County man who died on March 6 at his home was the 11th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported on Thursday, March 11. Read more
Another Baker County residents has died after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the county's death toll during the pandemic to 11. Read more
Baker County’s COVID-19 risk level rises by one, from lowest to moderate, on Friday, March 12, but the effects on restaurants and bars, and other businesses and activities, are relatively minor. Read more
A 64-year-old Baker County woman died March 7 after testing positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 18, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced on Tuesday, March 9. Read more
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, Baker County will move from the lowest of Oregon's four risk levels to the second-lowest starting Friday, March 12. Read more
A 64-year-old Baker County woman who died March 7 at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise is the 10th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority announced today. Read more
Two more Baker County residents have died from COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced today, March 2. Read more
Terry McQuisten will welcome moviegoers back to the Eltrym Theater on March 5 — the 13th anniversary of when she and her husband, Dan, purchased the business. Read more
Despite snow showers and temperatures hovering around 20 degrees, 300 Baker County residents, most of them age 80 or older, received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Friday morning, Feb. 12 at Baker High School. Read more
Baker County will drop to the lowest risk level for COVID-19 spread — and be subject to the least stringent state restrictions on businesses and other activities — starting Friday, Feb. 12. Read more
Two Baker Middle School students and one teacher have been quarantined this week after one of the students tested positive for COVID-19. Read more
More than 500 Baker County residents age 80 and older could be vaccinated for COVID-19 over the next week or so. Read more
In its first 30 minutes or so, Baker County's COVID-19 vaccine call center fielded more than 300 calls from residents who wanted to have their name added to a waiting list to receive a vaccination. Read more
Baker County dropped from the extreme-risk level under the state’s COVID-19 guidelines to high risk on Friday, Feb. 5, Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said. Read more